Experiments in sock construction

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Hey guys! As you may (or may not!) remember, earlier this summer I won this amazing gift basket from the girls at Pompon Laine Café for being one of the first clients to get the membership card for the store (very sweet, isn’t?).

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Well, among all that fiber-y goodness, there was a pinkish ball of stretchy self striping yarn from Lana Grossa called Meilenweit 100 Cotton Fantasy Stretch that I had never used before, so I was a little intrigued. Looking at the yarn, I really couldn’t picture what it would look like all knit up so I decided to try it and find out.

First rule in knitting: when you don’t know what to expect out of a yarn, stick to basics.

Following this simple rule, I decided to cast on a basic cuff-down sock, 72 sts on 2.25mm needles and started knitting away, using a 2×2 rib for the cuff. A little ways in, I was able to see the yarn was indeed self striping and was able to assess the width of the stripes and the length of the color sequence. Pretty cute, isn’t?

IMG_2717_medium2Looking at all these cute stripes go, I thought to myself it would be a pity to break it up working a heel flap, so I decided to try a new (to me!) sock technique to preserve the perfect stripe sequence: the afterthought heel. Now, I when I say it’s a new technique, it doesn’t mean that I learned about it recently – I have known the technique for quite a while, I have just never used it before. Part of the reason is because I’ve never had the chance to work with a self striping yarn before so I never really saw a need for it and the other part of the reason is that I’ve heard mixed reviews about this technique, saying it always pulls and creates holes on the sides.

Well, after trying it for myself, let just say this : yes, it does create small holes on the sides, but it’s really not that bad if you pick up a couple stitches on each side to bridge the gap, and I also knit them through the back loop on the first row after pick up to get a fuller look by twisting the stitches. And it works. So if you’ve been worried about that, there’s really no need to fret – I guarantee it.

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All in all, I would definitely use the afterthought heel again for any self striping yarn, but I’m not so sure about the yarn. First thing first, I must say that I definitely would not have chosen this colorway for myself – but as they say beggars can’t be choosers, so I really can’t complain when I got the yarn for free. But what turned me off the most about this yarn is actually not the color, but the texture. Don’t get me wrong, I love the finished socks, they’re nice and cozy and the stretch in there really makes them comfortable, but somehow the yarn is a little rough to the touch so it wasn’t super fun to knit. It’s a great sock yarn, but I guess for me enjoying the final product is not enough, I have to fully enjoy the process too – which is why I might not buy this yarn again.

Tour de Fleece 2015 and stuff

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Well guys, I feel like I really owe you all an heartfelt apology. Although I have been keeping myself pretty busy lately with many fiber things, I have been selfish enough to not share it with you. Unforgivable, right? Well, to make amends, I decided to share with you all today what I’ve been working on in the last couple weeks.

First things first, I decided to participate again this year in the Tour de Fleece with the girls from Papote et Placote. However, as I am not a very competitive spinner, I’m simply tagging along at my own rhythm, never mind the slow turtle pace. Since the beginning of the tour, which was on July 4th, I have spun about 60 grams of yummy Malabrigo sweetness that I am quite happy about. Here’s what it looks like:

FotorCreatedI have not been a very dedicated spinner since my neck has been killing me for days now, but I do what I can. And since the Tour de Fleece has been putting me into a spinning mood, I have also been thinking about how to use all those beautiful handspun yarns I have, that I still haven’t touched. I know, I’m lowering my head in shame now but I have to admit that since I started spinning last year, I have not used a single yard of handspun. Shame on me! It’s not because I don’t like them, on the contrary! But I think I have been waiting for an illumination; for the perfect project to showcase my handspun yarn. And after many a thought about it, I think I finally found it. Here’s the magical project I have in mind for one of my latest handspun named heaven:

FotorCreated2Yep, the BlueSand Cardigan from La Maison Rililie! I paired my blue and purple handspun with 2 solid shades of gray in Cascade Heritage yarn. The pattern usually calls for DK weight but the yarn I chose is actually fingering weight, so I’ll use a modified gauge and simply follow instructions for one size up what I actually want. I’m so thrilled about this project!

Now that I shared my idea with you, I really want do know what you, wonderful spinners out there, generally use your handspun for! Do you spin with a specific project in mind or are you like me and you spin something and let it sit for a while until you find the perfect project for it? Please leave a comment below and let me know :)

The Spinning Mojo

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Since I have finished most of my current knitting projects now and didn’t quite feel like starting another big one, I decided last weekend to dust my poor little spinning wheel and give it some love. I have had the same project on it since March, and it wasn’t even because it was a LONG project (just a 4 oz merino roving) but truth is, I just didn’t feel like it (maybe I lost my spinning mojo?).  Either way, I wanted to get my rusty articulations back into shape because the Tour de Fleece is coming very quicky (start off is on july 4th) and I signed up to participate with the girls of Papote et Placote.

So I decided it was time to finish that project and take it off the wheel, so I took my little kiwi for a spin. The yarn I got out of it is a very fine fractal, 2 ply, lace to light fingering weight yarn with a generous 575 yards for 104 grams. I used the left over singles to spin a 3 ply navajo fingering weight yarn, it is 61 yards (14 grams) of pure cuteness. Yummy!

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The fiber I used was Malabrigo Nube in the color Zarzamora, it’s a beautiful mix of purple and green and blue.

Any of you guys participating in the upcoming Tour de Fleece?

New Release

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Hey guys!

Just popping here to let you know that my Fluttering Feet pattern has now been released, yay! :) You can fin it here (http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/fluttering-feet) and use the promo code “BIRDSOFAFEATHER” for a 50% off until the end of the month. Thank you all! :)

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Oh, Lacy Sweetness

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Last week I finished a sweet little lace shawl that I have been dying to show you all, and I decided that today is the day. You might remember a progress shot I shared with you a couple months ago of this shawl in the making, as it was my “airplane knit” that I started while going to Nevada and Arizona for a short vacation earlier this year, in April.

estuaryWhat do you guys think? Isn’t this shawl pure lacy love? This pattern is called Estuary, from tincanknits, and it was knit using Confetti Superwash yarn by DGB. The pattern is entirely charted, very easy to understand and very easy to follow, the only change I made was to work the edge stitches in stockinette st instead of garter st. I simply LOVE the finished project!

The yarn was something I found on sale at a local yarn store about a year ago, it was a yarn I had never heard of or worked with it before but I sort of liked the color, and since it was cheap I decided to try it. Although I didn’t hate this yarn, far from it actually, I don’t think I will use it again once I have used the remaining skein I have. Don’t get me wrong, this yarn was nice to work with, it has a nice soft feel and it definitely blocks very well, but it simply wasn’t a love story between it and me. I guess what it comes down to is that it’s a good yarn, but just not a “wow” yarn to me. Know what I mean?

Anyways, I also got a pretty nice surprise a few weeks ago that I want to share with you – a new yarn store has just recently opened in my area, and I LOVE it! Yay for more yarn! This little store is cute and quaint, it’s friendly and cozy and it’s called Pompon Laine Café – if you’re in the Trois-Rivières area, you should definitely go check it out, it’s located at the intersection of Bonaventure and Saint-Denis. I went  to the store opening a few weeks ago and got a membership card, and -oh, suprise!- I won a basket full of goodies including stitch markers, natural hand cream and (plenty) of yarn. Look at all these beautifuls! Am I not the most lucky knitter ever?

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Cardigan Duo!

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My friends, I am so happy to announce to you today that I have finally finished my Stellata Cardigan! Yes! It looks great and it feels amazing, as I predicted. So… I am definitely going to wear the heck out of this one this summer! The yarn I used is Elsebeth Lavold Hempathy in color “peach”. Now that I’m done, I can definitely say that I LOVE this yarn. I will be using it again… Surely! It’s soft, comfortable and airy, and it also knits up like a charm.

If you have not used it yet, I definitely recommend it for any summer garments!

StellataAmongsnt other things, I also completed a very (tiny) project for a little human in the making, who is supposed to be born sometime this summer. I used a cotton/acrylic blend so it’s not too hot and also easy to wash, the yarn is DungarEase from Knit one Crochet Too. I picked the color “Sand”, which I thought was perfect for a baby who’s gender you do not know yet.

IMG_2669 So what have you Sweeties been up to lately?

Sea Breeze released!

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Good morning fellas!

Just a little heads up to let you know that my Sea Breeze sweater pattern has been released yesterday, woohoo! It’s available on Ravelry, go check it out! :) Sea Breeze